Sunday, October 27, 2013

The world curling and uncurling around us

We could gain much by observing the world. Although Thoreau managed to move to the edge of the world and do his observations from an idyllic Walden Pond, we don't have to do as much. We could, but we don't have to. A world of beauty wraps around us daily. Colors and shapes and forms and behaviors and scents and flavors are open to each of us.

Yesterday, I lit up a Turano Vault at a local cigar lounge. The poetry from this stick wandered all over creation, but it caught the corner of this idea of noticing what occurs around us. Not dissing theaters and the ubiquitous electronics which put us in touch with virtual people, our world, physical and available, sits right here.

For me, enjoying a stick means giving it the time to tell its story.

See if this works for you:

The Sight, The Story

by Christopher Robin Adams


The Vault is lit. Blend D-042.

Its flavor tickles my palate.

I hold it away from me.


From the foot,

                        pushed wild by 800 C  heat,

smoke moves upward,

                        then Clairol-curls and waves,

                        tumbling skyward

                                    in reverse gravity.

From the clipped end,

                        cool and clinging,

smoke slides out,

                        follows the stick around its nub ,

                        sticking close to the wrapper,

                                    then eases skyward.

Funny, I smile to myself.

The story unfolds within me:

            the smoke expects my lips,

            wants to please me,

            hangs around to visit,

                                                but, finally disappointed,



Zen involves much, and I am not qualified to give lessons, but becoming the smoke and feeling its way around the filler to find you... Life doesn't get better. T. H. White in the Once and Future King delightfully has Arthur doing this in order to become a better ruler, in order to understand people and all of life. Persig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance also covers this well.

That's my call.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Paradigm shifts are difficult.

They don't just involve putting a new idea or a new fact in the mind; they involve an entirely new way of viewing the world and how it relates to the individual shifting.

I am reminded of a bicycle shop our bank financially backed in Kansas City, Missouri. I visited Robert on his Grand Opening and admired a large display of flowers. The open card said, "Congratulations on becoming a capitalist!" I asked him about this odd comment, about what he had been before. "A communist," he replied a little shyly, a little hesitantly.

This is a paradigm shift. His work as a Gitane rep for some ten years had him traveling the nation. Bicycles were his life and love, but I believe the biking community was more so. Now that changed. He still took his revamped bus filled with bikes and bikers to Iowa for the cross-state event, but he did so with a new awareness: who would run the shop, how much would he lose if he closed, did his last order get in, and who would he meet on this trip who will understand him and his responsibilities? Now he had inventory and sales, and now I became a closer friend than before. Imagine that, his brother must have thought: Robert has to meet with  his banker.

Spanish Cedar is causing this shift in me. I have more of an understanding of writers before me: Poe and Wilde living high and low and trying to keep their artistic integrity while writing for a public who would buy their books. They had to know publishers and be able to debate the merits of their writing on one factor: would it sell? Would the publisher make money? Would the writer be able to pay his bills?

Now I must take time off from writing, my love,  to get to know a wider range of those who will see my book, who will read my book, and who will (hopefully) buy my book. I reach out more now than I have before to those lighting up a maduro in the next chair, those asking about the choice between an Oliva and a Drew Estate. I have met the owners of the eight lounges I visit each month, and we have discussed not only cigars, but how my book might help them and help me at the same time; each of us recognizes the balance we are aiming for: a mutual relationship between vendor and retailer where both grow for the long range benefit of both.

While I was in a signal battalion in the Army for two years, managed a main frame for a marketing group for five years, and taught for a virtual school for eight years, I did not consider myself a techie; I turned to others for help and support. Now I am mastering the blog (you are here!), the Twitter world, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my website.

Three years ago, this was not my plan, but I am a writer, and if I want my ideas to travel beyond me and the cigar lounge in which I sit, if I want to realize income from the one area in life I believe I have mastered and yet still learn and grow with, then I need to learn how writing moves commercially and the pathway to a successful release.

A paradigm shift is difficult, and that's my call.